“Every time I set off on my e-bike I say ‘wheeee!’ inside my head.”
E-bikes are fun to ride and have huge potential to help us reduce our dependence on cars.
We took up cycling as a family during the pandemic thanks to the slower pace of life and the temporary cycle lane on the Old Shoreham Road. We found ourselves making a commitment not to drive within Brighton and Hove wherever possible.
I don’t think we would have kept it up through the return to work and the loss of the temporary cycle lane if it weren’t for purchasing e-bikes. Here’s why I love my e-bike so much.
Every time I set off on my e-bike I say ‘wheeee!’ inside my head. I went to try out our current bike, a Riese & Muller Multicharger, having never ridden an e-bike before. It had a hefty price tag and I wasn’t really anticipating buying such an expensive bike. But within 2 minutes of riding it I was hooked and placed the order that day. E-bikes are addictive and fun to ride. You can spot people riding them by the serene and joyful expression on their faces.
I can go faster
I have a mild neurological condition called CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth). It causes weakness in my hands and feet and affects my balance. On foot I am always that bit slower than the people around me. My legs can feel heavy and sluggish. On the e-bike I’m just as fast as the next person. In the UK e-bikes are limited to 15mph. A strong, fit person on an ordinary bike can go faster than me but they’re also definitely working harder than me! You have to pedal on an e-bike and then the electric motor assists you by different amounts depending on what mode you use. I love the satisfaction of getting myself from A to B but much faster than I would otherwise manage.
I can go further
I often hear people saying that you don’t get as much exercise on an e-bike. This is true if we compare mile for mile. But the e-bike gives me freedom to go so much further and take on journeys I wouldn’t otherwise have the confidence or fitness to manage. Using an e-bike has allowed me to convert far more journeys from car to bike than if I didn’t have the electric assist. I cycle far more frequently and travel more miles thanks to the e-bike.
I am undefeatable!
I’m sure most of us have had that experience of setting off up a hill on a bike, gradually running out of energy, grinding to a halt and finally admitting defeat. There’s something so miserable about pushing a bike up a hill. On the e-bike I am undefeatable! Brighton has some pretty big hills and I haven’t once had to get off and push. A big hill still requires effort, leaving me out of breath and with achy legs. That only doubles the satisfaction of having made it to the top. Once again, the electric assist hugely increases the number of journeys we can manage in our local area and happily leave the car at home.
One of the huge advantages of an e-bike is the ability to take cargo. We have 2 longtail cargo bikes for our family, the Riese & Muller Multicharger and a Tern GSD. A longtail bike is just like a normal bike but a bit longer at the back to allow room for children or cargo. The Tern is particularly brilliant at transporting our 2 kids, aged 6 and 8. It has a low centre of gravity which makes it really stable, a solid stand making it easy for the children to get in and out and big well designed panniers. It really does operate as the equivalent of a family car. The Multicharger works better with just our youngest aboard but can also handle pretty heavy loads. We manage a large supermarket shop with no problem, using a crate where the children would otherwise sit for bulky items. My husband also regularly transports his trombone by bike
Rain is not as much of a problem on a bike as you might think. Yes, occasionally you get a soaking but it’s an amazingly rare occurrence. Wind, on the other hand, is your real enemy. I love the seafront cycle lane. It is protected from traffic, flat and smooth and with glorious views of the sea. But the winds can be fierce and I am often thankful for ‘turbo’ mode on the e-bike. This is the highest level of assist which allows me to cycle into a pretty strong wind, for once easily passing much fitter and stronger riders as they battle the elements.
If I were to sum up my feeling on the e-bike it is one of utter freedom. I can jump on my bike and go almost anywhere within the city. But for me it’s also a freedom of movement which I don’t experience when walking about on my own 2 feet. My condition is mild but it’s also progressive and I don’t know how it will affect me as I get older. I hope to be using an e-bike of one kind or another to help me get around for many years to come. Wheeee!